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What do the Ahmad Bradshaw talks mean for the Colts?

Twitter was all the rage Thursday afternoon as free agent running back Ahmad Bradshaw visited the team's complex today. 

With the Colts officially promoting Bradshaw's visit, it was pretty likely that a deal would follow, and contract talks were reported later that afternoon.

The talks would then stall later in the night: 

The contract is still impending, and has a high chance of getting done today or Saturday, although Bradshaw's money demands are one reason why he was cut from New York. 

Bradshaw is arguably the most proven free agent on the market, with a alot of talent when healthy. Bradshaw was ProFootballFocus' highest rated pass blocker as a running back last season, and the 6th highest overall. He's one of the most well-rounded backs in the league, and would be a welcome addition to the Colts' thin group of running backs. 

So if Bradshaw signs, where does he fit in Indianapolis? 

It's been a well-known fact throughout OTAs that the Colts weren't satisfied with their current stable of backs. Running backs coach David Walker told Tom James a few weeks ago that the Colts were happy with Brown and Ballard, but a third running back hadn't emerged to join them. Walker said then that "unless you have Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, or Marshawn Lynch," a three-man rotation works best.

Delone Carter would seem to have been that third back, but offseason shoulder surgery has kept him from being active at the Colts' complex this offseason, and the coaches didn't see enough in him last year to warrant more than a few short yardage carries. 

So, Bradshaw would now seem to be the missing piece to the Colts' three-man rotation. Bradshaw, Ballard, and Brown would be the three backs, the question is what order will they be in? 

Really, I could see Bradshaw being anywhere from first on the depth chart to third, depending on how well he runs after his foot surgery this offseason. When healthy, Bradshaw is a very good back, better even than fan-favorite Vick Ballard. But, there's no guarantee that he will run as well as he has in the past with lingering foot issues bothering him. 

Personally, I'd expect something like a 45-35-20 split between the three backs throughout the season. Brown and Bradshaw both have injury tendencies that may bother them, and Ballard simply isn't the best lead back option. Once training camp comes, we'll have a better idea of what the final depth chart will be. 

One thing is for sure, however. Delone Carter should be very apprehensive about losing his job. The Colts clearly don't view him as much more than a short-yardage back, and his chances to beat out one of the aforementioned three looks slim. The task isn't impossible, as Donald Brown's job isn't set in stone by any means, but Carter has a lot of work cut out for him if he wants to ensure himself a job come September. 

Kyle J. Rodriguez

About Kyle J. Rodriguez

A film and numbers guru, Kyle writes about the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for Bleacher Report, Draft Mecca and The Football Educator, and is a co-founder and associate editor of Colts Authority. Kyle also is a high school sports reporter for the MLive Media Group in Michigan, covering high school sports across the state.

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